PERSONAL: Male. Education: Harvard University, graduated, 1974.
CAREER: Journalist, beginning c. 1970s; New York Times, New York, NY, beginning, c. 1985, suburban reporter, columnist, investigative reporter, national political writer, education writer, deputy metro editor, currently national education columnist; former staff writer for New York Times Sunday magazine.
AWARDS, HONORS: Schorr Family Award for Distinguished Contribution to Mental Health.
9 Highland Road (nonfiction), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1994.
Adam Canfield and the Slash, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Redbook, People, Woman's Day, Glamour, and National Wildlife.
ADAPTATIONS: Adam Canfield of the Slash was adapted as an audiobook read by Patric Girard Lawlor, Brilliance Audio, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: An education journalist on staff at the New York Times, Michael Winerip has also produced a work of nonfiction titled 9 Highland Road as well as the middle-grade novel Adam Canfield of the Slash. Praised as "a terrific crash course in Journalism 101" by a Publishers Weekly contributor, Winerip's novel draws from his own experiences as a reporter in telling its story about two middle schoolers whose efforts to ensure freedom of the press bring them into conflict with school administrators. Appraising 9 Highland Road in the New York Times Book Review, H. Jack Geiger concluded that "no better, more humane, more respectful but unsentimental book about lives troubled by mental illness has been written."
9 Highland Road was inspired by Winerip's work as a New York Times reporter covering a controversy surrounding the building of a group home in a Long Island neighborhood in 1987. Four years later, in 1991, he returned to the then-operational home to observe the people who lived and worked there. For "two years he virtually lived there, sharing the daily lives of the residents and their 24-hour-a-day counselors," explained Geiger in the New York Times Book Review. The result, 9 Highland Road, introduces readers to several residents of the group home: Stan, the son of wealthy parents, speaks several languages and plays classical piano and guitar but is constantly taunted by voices he imagines are urging him to commit suicide; Jasper suffers from schizophrenia and an eating disorder which causes him to reach a weight of four hundred pounds; and Julie was treated for schizophrenia for many years before being correctly diagnosed as a victim of multiple personality disorder. The book received critical praise not only for its sensitive portrayal of the residents at the Long Island home, but also for describing the funding problems, social stigmatization, and bureaucratic mazes facing the patients and workers. Michael E. Ross, in Entertainment Weekly, applauded the volume as "invested with insight, perspective, and wit." A Kirkus Reviews contributor hailed 9 Highland Road as "a revealing, often disturbing account that somehow manages to be both compassionate and dispassionate."
In Adam Canfield of the Slash Winerip tells the story of two middle-schoolers who take their job as junior journalists seriously and attract trouble when they break a story about a corrupt school administration in their school newspaper. Newly appointed co-editors Adam and Jennifer take their job at the helm of Harris Elementary/Middle School's The Slash seriously, even though it means long hours editing, fact-checking, and assigning stories in addition to tracking them down. When an enthusiastic third-grade cub reporter uncovers information that compromises the integrity of the school's unpopular principal, the preteens brave a blot on their academic record to expose the truth. Praised by a Kirkus Reviews writer as a "quick-moving, suspenseful and well-written comedy," Winerip's novel fuels its suspenseful story with a lesson on journalistic ethics as well as questions of race, government accountability, and media bias. Citing the characters' growth as they face such issues, Jeffrey Hastings lauded the work in his School Library Journal review, dubbing Adam Canfield and the Slash "a deceptively fun read that somehow manages to present kids with some of the most subtle social and ethical questions currently shaping their futures."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Adam Canfield of the Slash, p. 1544.
Columbia Journalism Review, March-April, 2005, Gloria Cooper, "School for Scandal: The Education of a Newspuppy," p. 61.
Entertainment Weekly, July 29, 1994, review of 9 Highway Road, p. 55.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1994, review of 9 Highway Road, p. 546; April 1, 2005, review of Adam Canfield of the Slash, p. 429.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 5, 1994, review of 9 Highway Road, p. 6.
New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1994, review of 9 Highway Road, pp. 3, 25; July 2, 1995, review of 9 Highway Road, p. 16; May 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Adam Canfield of the Slash, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, April 18, 2005, review of Adam Canfield of the Slash, p. 63.
School Library Journal, March, 2005, Jeffrey Hastings, review of Adam Canfield of the Slash, p. 222.
Walker Books Web site, http://www.walkerbooks.co.uk/ (December 12, 2006), "Michael Winerip."